Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Shock and Awe

11 October 2016


At times, I wonder whether a “shock and awe” approach would increase my number of readers. Perhaps using a more assertive style of writing, would indeed gain readers. I am concerned that I might lose my current readers and – more importantly – lose myself in that process. A shock and awe approach requires using an ever-increasing volume of negative emotions.

I have learned the dangers of negativity in my life and I have consciously decided to avoid negative emotion. My blog articles do not appeal to the worst of your emotions – fear – in order to change your opinions. Each article aims to provide solutions rather than just scare the living daylight out of you. Apparently, a reasonable and sensible approach can still attract 86,000+ page views.

After enjoying the Borowitz Report satire in the New Yorker, I introduced that kind of humour in my blog articles. My frequency is still rather low as I have come to realise that this style also needs an element of shock and awe. If each new satire doesn’t outperform the previous one then the new satire feels weak. I also notice this feeling in the writings of Andy Borowitz and the Dutch satirist Youp van ‘t Hek.

The use of Shock and Awe appears to be a contemporary phenomenon. The best – or worst – example can be noticed in Politics. All over the globe, moderate political parties are losing and extremists are winning. I sincerely doubt that Politics is the cause of this trend. More likely, Politics reflects and is thus the result of a radicalizing, angry, society.

My 24 August 2016 blog on Anger Management mentions a Psychology Today article with the subtitle: Without doubt, anger is the most powerful – and regressive – “cover-up.” The words regressive cover-up imply that anger can also be a typical example of reverse psychology and projection: anger towards someone covers-up a feeling of self-anger.

Collective anger – or radicalization – most likely stems from a similar feeling: not being heard, not being taken seriously, feeling powerless. I suspect that this feeling is the consequence of a paradigm shift in society: from tribal (read: groups) to individual. Technology aimed to overcome this gap through social media and social networking services. In my view, technology has so far failed in this ambition and has even further enhanced this gap. Also see my 12 August 2016 blog.

I think, feel and believe that this paradigm shift in human society – from tribal to individual – was primarily caused by a tipping point in human history, being urbanisation. A 26 May 2015 FT article by Ivo Daalder expects that “by 2050, 6.5bn people, two-thirds of all humanity, will live and work in cities. In 1950 fewer than one billion did so.” Given my recent brief narrative of the future, I expect that urbanisation will get far worse.

Future city flooding caused by global warming could reverse the urbanisation trend. I think, feel and believe that it will increase urbanisation but on much higher altitudes. Nevertheless, we always have an individual choice to participate in Shock and Awe. I have decided to decline.

Neil Young – Shock and Awe (2006) – artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


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